The idea seems logical enough, and Penguin UK, in collaboration with De Montfort University, have joined forces to see if the idea can work in practice. What is it? A MILLION PENGUINS, a “wiki-novel,” a book that echoes the principles of Wikipedia. In other words, it is open to anyone to join in, write and edit. None of the words, characters or plot twists will be attributed to any individual and – and this is the element of the project most likely to bruise delicate egos – participants are free to edit, chop and change other writers’ work.
But not to worry, says the Guardian’s Michelle Pauli: there will be moderation of the project by a “core team” of students from De Montfort’s Creative Writing and New Media course to prevent any kind of reversion wars. As for whether the idea will work, even Penguin thinks it may be a shot in the dark. “To be honest, we don’t know exactly what is going to happen or how this will turn out,” says Jeremy Ettinghausen, Penguin’s digital publisher. “We hope people will enter into it in the spirit we intend and leave their egos at the door. It’s not about individual work and individual brilliance – it’s about people working together as a community.”